So, if you live somewhere that’s actually cold right now…I’m sorry. The ATX is warm and sunny with days in the mid 70s and cool evenings that encourage dining outside with nothing more than a light sweater. While you may be cursing me now, there will be plenty of time for your revenge when it’s 107 for 93 days in a row.
With the sudden onset of spring (my pear tree is flowering!) came a few musings from the garden, but first let me clarify that my version of ‘garden’ is a perennial failure. Just yesterday I was driven to the backyard in utter despair by weeds that have now grown past my knees. How does one battle these creeping little succubi while still trying to (quick, get my cape!) save the planet? JM is adamantly against the chemical weed killer, though he offered little redeeming advice from his perch on the back steps as I was weeding away,
ripping crab grass like it was the heart of my dead father’s last wife. Did I just say that? Okay, I digress.
Anyway, the point is, I have the blackest thumb on the planet, but I don’t let that stop me from engaging in what has become a spring ritual of heading over to the Natural Gardener and spending a TON of money on a bunch of stuff that will die sometime just short of mid-July. By then I’ve grown sulky and annoyed with the heat, perturbed by the endless swarms of mosquitos trying to suck the life out of me, and generally listless and complacent. In spite of the fact that this has now been my depressing ritual for the past 6 years in Austin, Texas (I miss Cali where you can grow anything…just stick a seed in the ground and walk away, #Done!) as soon as the gentle gusty breezes of spring appear, I’m like the alcoholic that can’t remember the last debacle.
Yesterday, as I was ripping (weeds) and praying that nothing disgusting crawled out on my hand, I had a long time to muse over this ritual–my past failures and what I’ve learned.
I’m all about forest gardening right now…like, obsessively about it, but since I’ve finally come to realize that not everyone shares all of my obsessions, I’ll leave that conversation at a link (if you’re interested) and move along to the garden muse.
1. Stop trying to plant things that won’t grow.
This is a great one…and not just for your garden. Regardless of how I love all the fragrant budding blooms gathered attractively at the check-out in the gardening department, the fact of the matter is that a gazillion deer occupy my street, and those precious little buggers will eat anything colorful, and anything that smells good.
Much like gardening, I find that sometimes in my spiritual life, I am still trying to plant things that just won’t grow. Sometimes I do this with relationships. I often do it with skills that I think I should have (but have no natural desire or inclination towards) and I almost always regret it in a big way. There’s a point in tending to your spiritual garden when you begin to realize that roses aren’t everyone’s choice. Some of us like peonies, dahlias, daisies, whatever. Stop trying to plant roses (unless you like roses, and then by all means, plant away–they are actually incredibly hardy!)
2. Do the dirty work
That means weed away. And pull that stuff up at the roots. No cheating! Weeds thrive on unhealthy soil (god himself only knows what’s in mine) and the best way to kill the weeds (and save the planet…you can thank JM later) is to get on your hands and knees and get a little dirt under your fingernails. The truth is, I always resist yard work, but once I’m out there, I’m generally at peace with what I’m doing. And I realize that my resistance comes from the fact that I think I’m too busy to tend to my garden, or that too many other important things are happening that require my attention. This is BS.
A healthy lawn (garden, flowers, whatever) cannot grow unless the soil is nutrient rich and the garbage is cleaned out. Is this sounding like an inventory to you? Yup! Do the dirty work spiritually. You may resist it because you think you’re really really busy with you’re really really important life…but it’s BS. You’ll find that once on your knees in the dirt, you’ll probably be at peace with what you’re doing.
3. Educate yourself
I don’t know why, but I instinctively and regularly fail to realize that I need to educate myself about my yard. I sort of assume (and am later annoyed to discover how wrong I am) that I know what I’m doing. I mean how hard could it be for christ’s sake? It’s grass, a rake, a shovel, and a big hole that I’m going to stick something living in before I pile dirt over it.
Well, it turns out that it’s a litte more complicated than that. My arrogance, grandiosity and laziness always have the same result…a dead yard in mid-July. And by that time I’m ready to move back to the city and embrace concrete and glass and call a sky-scraper home. Maybe this is #1 for me. Maybe I keep trying to plant a gardener in me that just won’t grow. But maybe, I just need to be humble and willing enough to educate myself a little and learn.
There’s not a little old lady with blue curly hair out there growing perfect tomatoes and bell peppers who won’t remind you that patience is the virtue of all amazing gardeners. It doesn’t happen overnight
dammit. Like most incredible things, it takes steady work and a lot of diligence and the results kind of happen somewhere in the middle when we’re busy plugging away and not even looking for them anymore.
Happiest Tuesday 🙂